Dialysis can help you live more comfortably with chronic kidney failure, but it’s not a cure. While having a kidney transplant isn’t technically a cure, it can significantly improve your quality of life. If you are a good candidate for this procedure, it’s important to weight the pros and cons of it before making a decision on whether or not to have it done. These include the following:
Treatment of Choice
Renal transplantation has a high rate of success, making it a suitable and more cost-effective alternative to dialysis for those with chronic renal failure. Success rates have recently approached 97 percent after one year, while average graft lifetimes have been in excess of 10 years. Research has also shown that those who have had kidney transplants typically live longer than patients on dialysis. Keep in mind, though, that renal transplantation might need to be combined with other forms of treatment in some cases. Our specialists will go over recommended treatment plans with you.
What Happens During a Renal Transplant
When you undergo this procedure, you can expect it to take roughly three to four hours. You’ll need to stay in the hospital for about a week afterward and have regular follow-up visits to check your kidney function. During this procedure, a renal transplant surgeon places a donated kidney in your lower abdomen and connects it to your iliac arteries and veins. This helps your kidneys function as they normally would. Kidney transplants are a success if you don’t develop hypertension and if your kidneys don’t reject the new kidney. Keep in mind that anti-rejection drugs are given to reduce the risk of rejection.
Who should a donor kidney come from? Ideally, it should come from a close relative with the same blood and tissue type, which lowers the risk of rejection. Donor kidneys can also come from other living donors, such as strangers, your spouse or a friend, or from cadavers. You might be placed on a waiting list if you don’t know anyone who can donate a kidney to you.
Finding a Good Match
Our renal transplant team will help you find the right match for a donor's kidney. This involves weighing a few different factors, including the following:
- Blood type
- Human leukocyte antigens: Family members are your best bet for a total match, but this is not required as long as the donor has a compatible blood type and other tests have negative results.
- Cross-matching antigens: This involves mixing a sample of your blood and the donor’s to make sure no reactions occur.
RenalCare Associates has two transplant surgeons and two transplant nephrologists that provide transplant services through the OSF St. Francis Medical Center transplant department. The transplant center is able to perform and manage kidney and pancreas transplantation.
The Pre-Transplant Department of OSF St. Francis Medical Center coordinates kidney and kidney/pancreas transplant evaluations. We also coordinate the medical evaluation for donors at OSF. The department’s Pre-Transplant coordinators review each patient’s medical record, schedule an education session about transplantation, coordinates an appointment with the transplant team and schedules testing according to the American Society of Transplantation guidelines and Transplant Center protocols.
Once these tests have been completed, the coordinators prepare and present the test findings to the Transplant Selection Committee. The team follows and continues to monitor each patient until the time of transplantation.
If you are interested in being a recipient or donor please contact the OSF St. Francis Hospital Transplant department at 309-655-4101.
The OSF St Francis Medical Center Transplant office is located at 420 Glen Oak Avenue, Suite 401, Peoria, IL 61605.
Post Transplant Follow- Up
After you are discharged from the Transplant Center, you will be seen weekly for the first couple of months. You will also need to have blood tests to check your medication levels and kidney function. When your kidney function has stabilized, you will be seen less often, but followed closely. The physician will determine your next appointment after examining you and reviewing your laboratory tests. As long as you have your transplanted kidney, you will need regular physician visits.
Contact us for additional information or to schedule a consultation about kidney transplantation.